Melissa Peterson Art

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Don't Forget Me.                                                                    

Artist Statement                                                          Work

By utilizing techniques of artists who came before as a way of talking about the way in which we are shaped by those same artists, I have begun to investigate concepts within the critique of individuality. What does it mean for an artist, who was originally seen as a solo individual pioneering his/her way through uncharted territory, expressing themselves in all their uniqueness bravely, to be shaped entirely by the world surrounding them, including other artists? This seemingly shatters all pre-conceived notions we have of an artist as a prodigy, a genius rising above and separating themselves from all that surrounds them. This seems to de-bunk the idea of originality and individuality completely.

Utilizing larger brush strokes as a way of referencing many dialogues that have taken place, especially surrounding some of the artists I admire most like Robert Rauschenberg, I am able to reference that influence that has served to shape me. I am able to reference my history, my tradition. One is no longer allowed to see just the work that I have produced, but also the long line of history that has come before that moment that has allowed me to produce that work. You are no longer looking into a picture of the artist's mind, but rather a history, a dialogue, in which clearly I am not the only participant, and it cannot be ignored.

By utilizing the phrase “Don't forget me”, which in itself is not a unique phrase accredited to any one person but rather utilized by multiple cultural sources, I provide a dialogue that no one is exempt from; no one can claim to be unable to relate. I have removed the author from this statement, making it possible to implicate the viewer through their ability to identify with it and adopt it as their own. Through this, the individual begins to deconstruct, turning into, rather, the society.

Through positioning the phrase where it is located, I have begun to semi-obscure the “Don't”, allowing the critique to show through. “Me” is a singular word designed to designate one particular individual. This phrase, therefore, is designed to be said by a particular individual in a specific context. But because the individual has been replaced by the wider culture, the “don't” get's partially obliterated to discuss the concept that a particular person really cannot be remembered as an individual for looking like everyone else. 

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Don't Forget Me. Copyright 2010 MP

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